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Expat parents have more to consider than their jobs when they start living overseas. They also have to think about how moving to a new home abroad will impact their families, and especially their children.
Forty-three percent of workers transferred overseas have children. While the best country for children depends on family dynamics, the age of children and other factors, here are some of the world's child-friendliest foreign countries for parents.
According to the Save the Children's 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report released in 2012, Norway ranked as the top place to raise a child thanks to its parent-friendly laws. Families receive 56 weeks of leave at 80 percent pay, with mothers and fathers sharing the time as they see fit.
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Sweden is also known for its progressive family leave time which gives mothers and fathers a total of 480 paternity leave days to share between them, per child. Each parent can take the time off jointly or back to back while they bond with a new baby. During this time, parents can make up to 80 percent of their salary up to approximately $45,000 per year. Plus, every child over the age of 1 is guaranteed a spot in day care.
If a U.S. expat wanted to pay for child care in a foreign country, he or she could use a trusted online foreign exchange service to monitor currency exchange rates and submit international payments.
With its low cost of living, low crime rates and good health insurance coverage, many expat parents rank Canada high on their list. Another bonus is that American children can assimilate quickly with the locals. "Having a language bond, rather than a language barrier, increases integration and helps children assimilate," says Suzanne Garber, chief networking officer of International SOS, an international health care medical assistance and security services company with locations across the globe.
Expat parents rank Hong Kong as a great place to raise children thanks to the country's safety, high education standard and quality child care.
While a low crime rate and safety are important, Garber says other factors can be just as critical, like the ability to assimilate, which can be difficult in Asian countries because an inability to speak the language can hinder communication and relationships. "Crime is everywhere, and other factors like culture and education can far outweigh that," says Garber, who was raised in foreign countries, including Algeria and the Dominican Republic.
Like Canada, Australia is well-known for the overall friendliness of its locals. Many children and parents find it easy to integrate into the culture, which promotes an active outdoor lifestyle. But expats moving to a home abroad in Australia should also expect a high cost of living in that country.
Whether expat parents want exposure to a new culture or language, or crave a more active and healthy lifestyle, their assignment is more likely to succeed if their children are happily integrated into their new foreign country. Expat parents moving to a high-cost country can benefit from the services of a trusted online foreign exchange provider that has simple and free sign up with no maximum transfer balance and convenient receipt management with pre-stored bank details, making international payments faster and easier.
 "Global Relocation Trends 2012 Survey Report," 2012, Brookfield Global Relocation Services, LLC
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